The Lincoln University Board of Curators have announced Michael Middleton as Interim President of Lincoln University. Middleton, who most recently served as Interim President of the University of Missouri System, will hold the position until a replacement for outgoing President Dr. Kevin D. Rome is named. Rome’s last official day with the university is June 15 and Middleton will spend time on campus prior to his departure.
Middleton was appointed by the University of Missouri Board of Curators as Interim President of the four-campus system in November 2015, following a semester of turmoil that resulted in the resignation of several key system officials. Lincoln Curators say his proven leadership during uncertain times will serve the university well.
“It is important to have at our helm someone who can help steady the waters in our current state,” says President of the Board of Curators Marvin Teer. “We are going to take our time in finding the 20th President of Lincoln University, so we needed to be certain the university would be in good, capable hands during this transition period. Based on his entire career, we have found just what we need in Mike Middleton.”
His law career led him to the nation’s capital, as a trial attorney with the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, and then later as the Assistant Deputy Director of the Office of Civil Rights within what was then the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. He would also serve as the Director of the Office of Systematic Programs for the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC), as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights in the Department of Education, and as Associate General Counsel of the EEOC’s trial division, before returning to Missouri as the Director of the St. Louis District Office of the EEOC.
Middleton, who earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Missouri in 1968 and is a 1971 graduate of the University of Missouri School of Law, made history in 1985 when he returned to his alma mater as the first full-time African American professor within the School of Law. Following his time in the classroom, Middleton served as Interim Vice Provost for Minority Affairs and Faculty Development, and finally as Deputy Chancellor, from which he retired in August 2015. He is known as a leader with a strong focus on policy and regulatory compliance, as well as operational performance and dispute resolution.
“Interim President Mike Middleton will bring the stability Lincoln University needs as we face the unique situation of searching for a President in the midst of grappling with budgetary and other concerns. Though he comes to us only temporarily, the Board is certain his time in this role will have a positive long-term effect on our historic institution,” says Teer.